Page images

who, upon other grounds, doubt of the existence of witches, who may be apt to judge me guilty of credulity, for the pains I take in this matter. This also hath been some trouble and discouragement, And, upon the whole, I am assured before-hand, that no evidence of fact possible is sufficient to remove the obstinate prejudices of divers resolved men, and therefore I know I must fall under their heavy censures, of which I have considered the worst, and am, I hope, pretty well prepared to bear the severest of them. But no man would expose himself to all this for nothing, nor have I. There were reasons for this engagement, and they were briefly these that follow :

“ Having been at Mr. Mompesson's house, at Tedworth, in the county of Wilts, being about the middle of March, in the year 1661, in the time of the disturbance, seen and heard somewhat myself, and received an account from Mr. Mompesson, and other creditable persons, of the whole trouble, I was persuaded to publish, and to annex the full account of it to the second or third edition of iny considerations concerning witchcraft, to which the story had near relation.

66 The reader will recollect that the disturbances at Mr. Mompesson's house were caused by an idle drummer, (a wizard) who went up and down the country with his drum, who demanded money by virtue of a pretended pass, with a warrant under the hands of Sir William Cowley, and Colonel Aycliffe, of Gretenham ; Mr. Mompesson knowing these gentlemen's hands, discovered that the pass and warrant were counterfeit, and thereupon commanding the vagrant to put off bis drum, and charged the constable to carry him before the next justice of the peace, to be further examined and punished. The fellow then confessed the cheat, and begged earnestly to have his

drum. So he was committed to prison, and tried at the assizes at Salisbury upon this occasion.'"

It is evident from the whole account of the story, as related, that the drummer infested and troubled Mr Mompesson's house and family for years, by his magical arts, or witchcrafts, The story concludes thus :

“ I have thus related the sum of the story, and noted some circumstances that assure the truth of it. I confess the passages recited are not so dreadful, tragical, and amazing as there are some in stories of this kind; yet are they nevertheless probable or true, though not so prodigious and astonishing And they are strange enough to prove themselves effects of some invisible extraordinary agents, and so demonstrate that there are spirits, who sometimes sensibly intermeddle in our affairs. And I think they do it with clearness of evidence; for these things were not done long ago, or at far distance, in an ignorant age, or among a barbarous people,--they were not seen by two or three only of the melancholic and superstitious, and reported by those that made them serve the advantage and interest of a party. They were not the passages of a day or night, nor the vanishing glances of an apparition ; but these transactions were near and late, public, frequent, and of divers years' continuance, witnessed by multitudes of competent and unbiassed attesta. tors, and acted in a searching incredulous age : arguments enough, one would think, to convince any modest and capable reason.'


Touching FLORENCE NEWTON, an Irish Witch.

« This Florence Newton was committed to Youghal prison, by the mayor of the town, March 24, 1661, for bewitching Mary Longdon, who gave evidence against her at Cork assizes. The said Florence Newton came to the deponent at the house of John Pyne, in Youghal, where the deponent was a servant, and asked the deponent to give her a piece of beef out of the powdering tub; and the deponent answering her, that she could not give away her master's beef, she said Florence seemed to be very angry, and said, “ Thou hadst as good bave given it me,' and so went away grumbling. That about a week after, the depo. nent being going to the water with a pail on her head, she met the said Florence Newton, who came full in her face, and threw the pail off her head, and violently kissed her, and said, Mary, I pray thee, let thee and I be friends; for I bear thee no ill-will, and I pray thee, do thou bear me none. That within a month after the said Florence had kissed her, she the deponent fell very ill of fits or trances, which would take her on the sudden, in that violence, that three or four men could not hold her; and in her fits she would often be taken with vomitings.

“ Nicholas Pyne being sworn, saith, That the second night after that the witch was in prison, being the 25th of March last, he and Joseph Thompson, Roger Hawkins, and some others, went to speak with her concerning the maid, and told her that it was the general opinion of the town that she had bewitched her, and desired her to deal freely with them, whether she had bewitched ber or no. She said she had not bewitch'd her,

bat it may be she had overlooked her, and that there was a great difference between bewitching and overlooking, and that she could not have done her any harm if she had not touched her, and that therefore she had kissed her; and she said, that what mischief she thought of at the time she kissed her, that would fall upon her, and that she would not but confess she had wronged the maid, and thereupon fell down upon her knees, and prayed God to forgive her for wronging the poor wench.

“ Hitherto we have heard the most considerable evidence touching Florence Newton's witchcraft upon Mary Longdon, for which she was committed to Youghal prison, March 24, 1661; but in April following she bewitched one David Jones to death, by kissing his hand through the grate of the prison, for which she was indicted at Cork sssizes, and the evidence is as follows:

“ Eleanor Jones, relict of the said David Jones, being sworn and examined in open court, what she knew concerning any practice of witchcraft by the said Florence Newton, upon the said David her husband, gave in the evidence, that in April last, the said David her late husband having been out all the night, came home early in the morning, and said to the said Eleanor his wife, Where dost thou think I have been all night? To which she answered, she knew not. Whereupon he replied, that I and Frank Besely have been standing centinel over the witch all night. To which she the said Eleanor said, Why, what hurt is that? Hurt, quoth he, marry I doubt its never a jot the better for me; for sbe hath kissed my hand, and I have had a great pain in that arm, and I verily believe she hath bewitched me, if ever she bewitched any man. To which she answered, The Lord forbid. That all the night, and continually from that time, he was rest


less and ill, complaining exceedingly of a great pain in his arm for seven days together, and at the seven days' end he complained that the pain was come from his arm to his heart, and then kept his bed night and day, grievously aflicted, and crying out against Florence Newton, and about fourteen days after he died. There is in this relation an example of the magical venom of witches.”

By magical venom (or influence) is signified wind or breath, which the witches infuse into the bodies of others, viz those with whom they have become acquainted, or whom they have had an opportunity to touch : these they can afflict, or not afflict, according to the freedom of their own will or wish, as is the case when they think and wish evil towards others, they then diffuse malignant influence, (or magical venom) which consists in breathing enmity, hatred, revenge, and malice, and consequently they cause disease according to their malignant desire.

As very few at this day know how magical influence is diffused or conveyed from the witch to one person, and again from that person even unto hundreds, it shall here be made manifest in what follows:--The person over whom the witch has power appears before the witch's internal sight, so long as she continues to think about that person : it is of no consequence if hundreds of miles distance, she sees the person which is the object of her thoughts, and consequently she is able to afflict that person according to her own pleasure. From these and other cases of experience, it evidently appears that this person is the medium whereby magical venom is conveyed to others, by or through the touch of the person which is the object of her thoughts, and consequently she hath power over every one that this person doth touch, although many miles distant from her. · From these considerations it may be manifest, that magical influence is diffused out of the material bo

« PreviousContinue »